Tag Archives: precinct 4

Chou Goes Disingenuous With Briones Attack

Thursday morning, I saw a couple of attack ads on Facebook against Lesley Briones, Democrat for County Commissioner, Pct 4, paid for by her opponent Ben Chou. (Coby has the artwork.)

I really wasn’t sure if I should write about it because I think bringing it up would give it more attention than the ads actually earned, but since it is a race in which I actually vote and the Briones campaign responded, I thought I’d pay attention and say something.

Attacks are nothing new and this blogger (and others) has been known to play “gotcha!” with many a political campaign based on and backed up by actual facts after a hell of a lot of research. But when an attack is not backed up by facts, then, one is just being disingenuous, probably during a fit of desperation, hoping something will stick as Early Voting begins soon.

Each Facebook ad, which were paid by Ben Chou but under the guise of a group that suddenly popped up out of nowhere, had a link to a Houston Chronicle article by Zack Despart regarding “pay to play” on the Commissioner’s Court, while the caption written by the group was an attack on Briones’ fundraising as a judge. The problem is, the linked article had nothing to do with Briones; if anything, the article didn’t even mention her because she is not on the Commissioner’s Court. But the caption by the Facebook group made it seem as if the Chronicle was somehow linking Briones to activities on the Commissioner’s Court.

As Facebook ads go, I’m pretty sure local campaign attack ads are seldom clicked as whatever the caption states is enough for the uninformed voter. Facebook activists will share a caption before they read an article. I’m pretty sure that was the goal of the Chou campaign, which makes it all more disappointing because he’s supported by a few groups and individuals that promote “democracy” and other stuff I support. So, I clicked the link thinking Chou would provide facts about his attack only to be sent to Despart’s article, which I read months ago.

Worse, Chou (or a supporter who once ran for Congress in CD9 and is Chou’s treasurer) seems to have created an organization on Facebook and Twitter that has no members (and 5 likes) and probably isn’t an official political action committee, nor reports any of its expenses or activities as an individual organization supportive of Chou as required by campaign finance laws. Chou’s campaign finance statements show he’s paid Human Age Digital (which is credited on the Facebook page of the new group) a nice amount of cash.

Briones responded stating that Precinct 4 deserves much better than a candidate who spreads lies and violates campaign finance laws. The campaign statement defended her time as a judge pointing to the fact that she cleared her docket backlog and “connected low-income individuals to to free legal representation.”

I have no idea what Chou’s response would be, now, other than backing up his attack with numbers and confusing paperwork. Or, just ignore the backlash and let it ride.

Either way, it’s a cheap attack which lacks substance and really shows a campaign that is seriously tanking or badly advised. Chou’s digital ad had a better message but he fell short of expanding on it given these Facebook ads. “Electing better leaders” takes a convincing argument that captures hearts and minds and simplistic attacks are not a good strategy to achieve that goal.

Early voting begins on Monday.

Kuff Interviews Precinct 4 Hopefuls

Thanks to Charles at OffTheKuff.com for interviewing those running for the Democratic nomination for Harris County Commissioner Precinct 4. The interviews are informative and allow one to get a feel for a candidate’s views without having to sit through a mass event, like a candidate forum during a pandemic.

Here’s the list of interviews in the order Kuff presented them:

Ben Chou, Harris County Commissioners Court Precinct 4
Ann Williams, Harris County Commissioners Court Precinct 4
Gina Calanni, Harris County Commissioners Court Precinct 4
Lesley Briones, Harris County Commissioners Court Precinct 4
Clarence Miller, Harris County Commissioners Court Precinct 4

Also, click here for all of the interviews he has done, thus far.

Former State Rep Gina Calanni Enters Race for Pct 4 Commish

The newly redrawn Precinct 4 is quite busy, as folks will notice.

Former State Rep of District 132 Gina Calanni has entered the race for the Dem nod for County Commish Pct 4.

Calanni states her proven success at the Texas Capitol as a “bold advocate that understands what it means to work hard and struggle for their loved ones, and for what they believe in” makes her the one to be the candidate. Calanni is running on issues, such as climate change policy and infrastructure to minimize the impact of severe weather events, as well as ensuring health care and mental health services that are accessible. Issues that affect the western reaches of Harris County and all of Harris County.

More on Gina Calanni:

Former State Representative Gina Calanni is Vice President of Finance for CalyxPure, an American manufacturer of air purification devices and LEDs, an author, cancer survivor, and mom of three boys.

Gina is running for Harris County Commissioner Precinct 4 to continue serving the public as an unyielding voice for Texas families. Gina firmly believes in giving all Texans the opportunity to pursue success and happiness, no matter their race, ethnicity, zip code, gender, or sexual orientation. She is ready to continue the fight for critical issues like increasing access to affordable healthcare, tackling rising property taxes, defeating the plague of human trafficking locally, and making sure Harris County is equipped to handle future catastrophic weather events.

The big news in her press release is that she has earned the endorsement of her former colleague, State Rep Gene Wu (District 137). Wu cites the hardships Calanni has overcome which have made her a fierce advocate for Texas families. “It’s about time Texans had someone fighting for them and not just wealthy donors.”

I guess we’ll need to wait until January to see who’s getting the big money.

So, the race for the new Precinct 4 Commish seat gets more interesting despite republican whining about redistricting.

Voters have their homework to do in learning more about the candidates–a lot more than waiting for direct mail pieces with photos of endorsers. While the issues will have their similarities, it may come down to one question: Who is willing to fight for the issues by not running away from them after the Primary?

Ben Chou Files for Harris Commish Pct 4

We knew it would get busy in the newly redrawn Harris County Precinct 4 and we have another candidate with Ben Chou announcing his candidacy for Commish. Chou is an attorney with government experience. If elected, he would be the first Asian-American and openly gay person on the Commissioner’s Court.

Experienced in the community (he grew up in SW Houston), in DC (worked with Martin O’Malley and Nancy Pelosi), and in the local elections office defending democracy, Chou seems qualified to serve in the office of Commissioner.

From his announcement:

I’m a progressive Democrat, lawyer, and community organizer. I’m running for County Commissioner because I think we need to build a Harris County for all of our residents — one that centers our efforts around the pursuit of economic, racial, and environmental justice; a future we are proud to pass down to our kids.

I’m running because we can accomplish bold reforms while getting the basics done. We’ve got streets filled with potholes, sidewalks left broken for too long, and street lights that don’t turn on. Meanwhile flooding continues to plague our communities as small businesses and neighborhood safety teeter on the brink.

What’s happening in Texas today is appalling. Republicans have effectively banned abortion, are limiting what books can be taught in schools, and are trying to suppress the right to vote. That’s why this moment is so important. I’m running to bring the progressive, bold change needed to Harris County while also fighting back against Republican extremism.

We can’t afford to wait for change. We need leaders who embrace innovation and have a proven record of getting things done – now.

Chou’s priorities outline addressing neighborhood services, flooding and climate change, public safe and criminal justice reform, and democracy and voting rights. His priorities are buttressed by the statement, “We need to create a society where people do not merely support progressive change, but fight for it.”

That said, his endorsers include his former boss, Martin O’Malley, 2020 Pct 3 Commish candidate Diana Martinez Alexander (whom DC supported), former HCDP chair Lane Lewis, among several precinct chairs who reside in Precinct 4.

At this point, I’m taking in all of the information from whomever files before making a decision. So, I urge voters to take in all of the information, as well, before making a decision.

Judge Lesley Briones Announces for Harris Commish Pct 4

With the ink pretty much dry on the recently approved redrawing of Harris County Commissioner precincts, Judge Lesley Briones announced that she would be resigning her position as Judge of County Civil Court at Law #4 to seek the Democratic nomination for the newly approved Precinct 4 Commissioner’s seat in 2022.

Currently, right-winger and consistent anti-progress vote Jack Cagle is in the seat, but the redesigned precinct has been made an opportunity for Democrats as a majority-minority district. Cagle could always move to the safe Republican precinct #3 and run against Tom Ramsey in 2024.

Stated Briones:

Together, we can build a county government that keeps our families safe, protects our homes from flooding, expands access to health care, treats everyone fairly, and creates good jobs that help our families thrive.

I have been represented by the current Precinct 4 commissioner for the last ten years. In that time, Harris County has changed – and now is the time for new leadership that will get better results for our community.

Briones has been endorsed by the Commissioners in Precinct 1 and 2, Democrats Rodney Ellis and Adrian Garcia, respectively. One will recall that the current Democratic majority, including County Judge Lina Hidalgo, appointed Briones to her current position after a freak resignation caused a vacancy. Briones handily defeated a Dem opponent and went on to win her race in 2020. Now, Briones is looking toward another seat in Harris County government.

Regarding Briones:

Lesley Briones is a former judge, non-profit leader, attorney, and public school teacher. A graduate of Harvard University and Yale Law School, Lesley practiced law at Vinson & Elkins LLP, served as General Counsel and Chief Operating Officer of the Laura & John Arnold Foundation, and most recently served as the judge of Harris County Civil Court at Law No. 4. Lesley and her husband Adán are the proud parents of three young daughters.

I have high praise for Briones as a campaigner having met her on the trail. Anyone who is willing to campaign for votes by actually talking to people gets praise from me. (The powers that be didn’t pick a good one for Pct 3 in 2020.) I’ve been drawn into Pct 4 and my hopes are for a strong, energetic, people-oriented campaign because that is how Democrats win.

Good luck to former Judge Briones. I look forward to seeing her campaign and issues develop as we get closer to the Primary.